Senator Penny Wong announcing plans for deeper engagement into Asia Pacific at RMIT University

30 Oct 2018

Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivered the 2018 Australian APEC Study Centre’s Lecture.

Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate with Professor Andrew MacIntyre, Director of the Australian APEC Study Centre.

Illustrious speakers including Alexander Downer, Julie Bishop, David Murray AO and Craig Emerson and Steven Ciobo have delivered the lecture in the past.

Senator the Hon. Penny Wong announced under Labor’s new FutureAsia plan, that if elected, they will establish four new posts in the Indo-Pacific region. Senator Wong noted the ‘growing importance of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia’ outlining that ‘a new post there will be a priority’.  

Referring to the Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper, the Senator recognised the growing regional geo-economic competition and how foreign governments gain strategic influence. In responding to this growing trend, Senator Wong also announced that Labor would establish a new category of geo-economic counsellor across the diplomatic network. These geo-economic positions will work across several locations to identify and improve ways of connecting and leveraging Australian companies and non-profits with the aim of achieving broader foreign policy objectives.

Emphasising the importance of Cultural Diplomacy and the need to boost the Asia capability of Australia, the Senator outlined her Party’s plans to prioritise Asian languages and literacy in the education sector and increase funding into the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants program.

As the APEC Leaders’ Meeting is fast approaching, the Senator took the opportunity to outline the importance of Papua New Guinea - our nearest neighbour – is in hosting this symbolic meeting. She recognised the importance of the APEC institution in advocating for multilateralism and highlighted the opportunities created for PNG by hosting APEC.

"At a time when multilateralism is in need of advocacy, it’s worth pausing to consider not only the merit of the institution of APEC, but the work that it has done and will do. APEC has been a key driver of economic integration in the region. And if you look at the APEC 2018 priorities we see again the emphasis on deepening regional economic integration and connectivity. The belief that the goal of sustainable and inclusive development requires collaboration is one that underpins the rationale for APEC as institution, and it is reflected in its work."

Director of the Australian APEC Study Centre, Professor Andrew MacIntyre thanked Senator Wong for her engaging lecture and a strong commitment to improving Australia’s diplomatic efforts. 

“Senator Wong set out the foreign policy priorities of a Labor government, underscored the need for closer engagement in Asia and the Pacific and gave a powerful, pragmatic argument for the importance of an open trade and investment regime across the region.”

The Australian APEC Study Centre’s 2018 Lecture attendees included distinguished guests from business, government and academia including senior members of the diplomatic corps.

The Australian APEC Study Centre at RMIT University promotes international cooperation and economic wellbeing in the Asia-Pacific region.

We achieve this goal through executive training, thought leadership and policy advice to government and business leaders in Australia and other APEC economies.

The Australian APEC Study Centre
RMIT University
Building 69
50 Cardigan Street
Carlton VIC 3053
Acknowledgement of country  
The AASC at RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present.  
The AASC would also like to acknowledge and extend our respects to the Indigenous people from across the lands we work, particularly the 21 economies of the Asia Pacific.  
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